Hampshire Police have been accused of failing to investigate and take appropriate action regarding allegations of serious misconduct surrounding former councillor and MP Mike Hancock.
This is not the first time in recent months that Hampshire Police have been accused of being involved in covering up the activities of an MP in a criminal act.
Campaigners have repeatedly called for the resignation of the Chief Constable Andy Marsh and Police & Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes for the Forces alleged political policing and failure to protect victims of political harassment.
The case of Mike Hancock has united members of Portsmouth City Council who have brought to the attention of the Home Secretary the conduct of Hampshire Police.
Dear Mrs May and Ms Longstone,
We, the undersigned councillors of Portsmouth City Council, feel compelled to write to you about the failure of Hampshire Constabulary to investigate and take appropriate action regarding allegations of serious misconduct surrounding former councillor and MP Mike Hancock.
We are most concerned that Hampshire Constabulary may have failed to comply with the policy and procedures set out in the Safeguarding Adults Policy (2010), to which both the council and Hampshire Constabulary are signatories.
It would appear that a timely and thorough investigation has not been carried out.
As you may know from national press reports, the careworker for a vulnerable adult (known as ‘Annie’) with mental health issues reported to Hampshire Constabulary in 2010 that Cllr Hancock had sexually assaulted or harassed Annie, in proper compliance with the Safeguarding Adults Policy. We have been informed that two male police officers then visited ‘Annie’ and counselled her not to pursue her complaint, because Cllr Hancock was a powerful person.
Later that year, a national Sunday newspaper reported that Cllr Hancock had sent certain text messages of a sexual nature to ‘Annie’. Cllr Hancock was apparently arrested, but again the police took no action. Through her solicitors, ‘Annie’ then brought a civil action for sexual assault against Mr Hancock in the High Court.
She also made a complaint of misconduct to the council against Mr Hancock. In order to investigate the complaint, the council commissioned an independent investigation into observations by Nigel Pascoe QC. Mr Pascoe produced his report (The Pascoe report) in the autumn of 2013, and the found the allegations to be believable and that ‘Annie’ was a credible witness.
Mr Pascoe recommended the matter should be acted upon. It was referred to the police by the city solicitor, but again Hampshire Constabulary chose to take no action.
Pending the outcome of the civil proceedings, the council adjourned the disciplinary hearings taking place pursuant to the Pascoe report, contrary to the recommendations of Mr Pascoe. The Pascoe report was introduced into the civil proceedings, despite objection by Mr Hancock. In June 2014, Mr Hancock accepted that he had ‘crossed the line’ and made a public apology to ‘Annie’ in the High Court and paid undisclosed costs and damages.
By then, Mr Hancock had ceased to be a city councillor following the May 2014 elections. The disciplinary proceedings were not therefore resumed. However, it was expected that police inquiries would be recommended in view of Mr Hancock’s admissions. Instead, Hampshire Constabulary announced within an hour that no further action would be taken against Mr Hancock.
In the light of recent similar cases, where Hampshire Constabulary have admitted failures in procedure and in fact paid substantial damages, we view this situation to be of professional concern and unacceptable. We would therefore urge you to order an independent inquiry as to why Hampshire police have taken no action in this case, and, if necessary, make direction that the case should be looked at again by a police force other than Hampshire Constabulary.
We believe that this is the only way in which public confidence in Hampshire Constabulary might be restored in this case. This letter is a summary; all points raised in this letter can be evidenced.
We would appreciate a full, written reply to this letter which is of great importance to victims of alleged sexual abuse.
Cllr Luke Stubbs, deputy Tory council leader
Cllr John Ferrett, Labour group leader
Cllr Steve Wemyss, Tory group leader in 2010, when the matter first surfaced
Cllr Colin Galloway, Ukip group leader
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem group leader
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